Malaria, cancer to get paper-based home test

Washington: According to a recent study, testing yourself for cancer or malaria could be as easy as testing your blood sugar or taking a home pregnancy test. Chemists at the Ohio State University are developing paper strips that detect diseases including cancer and malaria for a cost of 50 cents per strip.

Researcher Abraham Badu-Tawiah explained that the idea is that people could apply a drop of blood to the paper at home and mail it to a laboratory on a regular basis and see a doctor only if the test comes out positive. The researchers found that the tests were accurate even a month after the blood sample was taken, proving they could work for people living in remote areas.

Badu-Tawiah conceived of the papers as a way to get cheap malaria diagnoses into the hands of people in rural Africa and southeast Asia, where the disease kills hundreds of thousands of people and infects hundreds of millions every year. He and his colleagues report that the test can be tailored to detect any disease for which the human body produces antibodies, including ovarian cancer and cancer of the large intestine.